GOVERNING WITH PASSION

Ghana 2016 | DIPLOMACY | INSIDE PERSPECTIVE

HE John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, on the importance of sustainability development and making tough decisions.

HE John Dramani Mahama
BIOGRAPHY
After completing his post graduate diploma studies in Moscow, John Mahama returned to Ghana and, in 1991 become the Information, Culture and Research Officer at the Embassy of Japan in Accra. After working at the Embassy of Japan for a few years, he moved on to become the International Relations, Sponsorship, Communication and Grants Manager at the Ghana Office of PLAN International, an International Development Charity that has committed itself to alleviating child poverty. During his first term of Office as an MP he was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Communications, and subsequently appointed substantive Minister and was the first Chairman of the National Communications Authority. John Mahama ascended to the Office of President after the untimely demise of the late President, His Excellency Professor John Evans Atta Mills on the July 24, 2012. President Mahama had previously served as the Vice President, and on the passing of President Mills took over the reins of government.

It gives me great pleasure to join you in bidding farewell to 2015 and welcoming a new year. This is a time for celebration, a time to express gratitude for the good fortune and blessings bestowed upon us throughout the course of this past year.

This is also a time for contemplation and analysis. It is a time, as we move forward, to leave behind the setbacks and limitations of the past because with this New Year come new opportunities and the promises of limitless possibilities.

This is true not only for us as individuals but for us as a nation. 2015 was, in many ways, a challenging year. There was growth, and there were numerous accomplishments, but we also experienced a number of setbacks and faced what, at the time, felt like limitations.

They were not altogether unexpected. Indeed, I had asked the good citizens of Ghana to exercise patience and to bear with us during the difficult period. Words cannot express how impressed and inspired I have been by the understanding, the strong support, and the consistent encouragement with which they responded.
Even the voices that were raised in disagreement or criticism spoke volumes of truth about your unwavering love of Ghana and our shared desire, despite differing opinions on policies or methodologies to see our nation progress.

We may have differing opinions on how to get Ghana to the place where we want it to be, but the fact remains that we all do want to reach the same destination: one where Ghana is fully developed, with a thriving economy, ample employment opportunities, solid infrastructure, a top-level educational system that is accessible and free to all, a functional health delivery system, an overall reduction in poverty, and so much more.

But that doesn't happen overnight. Three years ago, when I was sworn in for my first term as President, the problems that Ghana was facing, while not insurmountable, were foundational.

The power crisis is a prime example. The process of load shedding did not begin with my administration. The problems in our infrastructure have been apparent for quite some time.

However, when confronted with the dilemma of how to resolve the problem, I opted not to go the route of a quick fix because we, as a nation, cannot continue to make decisions for the short run.

True progress must be sustainable. What we needed was a stable foundation, not a patch-up job. And that would take time. The decision I took to fully expand our energy infrastructure was not politically expedient or desirable. Indeed, the decision I took was quite unpopular.

But leadership and popularity are not the same thing, and every so often in the course of leadership, one has to make decisions that are neither popular nor politically expedient
Given the increasing unrest, terror, and instability that is occurring throughout the world, our resolve to work together toward the implementation of long-term, sustainable solutions for the development of our beloved Ghana is all the more appreciated, and it is all the more necessary. We are closer now, than ever before, to realizing the fruits of our patience.

Last year, as we ushered in 2015, I assured that I was listening to the people's concerns, and I pledged to continue to listen. I would continue to serve this country with the understanding that one of the hallmarks of democracy is the continuous communication between the people of a nation and their elected representatives.
Each and every member of this government is listening to the country's concerns, and is committed to working for the greater good of Ghana and for the welfare of its people. Each and every member of this government will uphold the promises that have been made to the people, whose interests we serve.
Those who fall short of that commitment have been, and will continue to be, asked to tender their resignations and relieved of their responsibilities. Ghana is not for one person, or one political party. Ghana is not for some select group of people; Ghana is for all of us, for our children. Ghana is for the future generations. We should always remember that the actions and attitudes we take now—all of us, not merely those of us in government—will determine the course of their fate.

Just as each of us is greeting the New Year with the intention of constructive change and the expectation of exciting new possibilities in our personal lives, let us also greet it with the same intentions and expectations in the life of our nation.

Let us go forward into 2016 with courage not caution, with optimism and a faith in our ability to achieve and succeed.

May God continue to bless you and our homeland Ghana during this year, and always.